Frankie Ballard recently sat down with Taste of Country and select media to talk about his impressive year in 2014, new music and being the opening act on Florida Georgia Line's Anything Goes Tour. For nearly an hour he brought the room into his life -- the life of an opening act. The 'Helluva Life' singer is still very much on his way up, something he's reminded of every day by, if no one else, himself.

“The biggest lesson I’ve learned is patience,” Ballard said before taking a long pause to consider his words carefully. “Everybody moves to town and wants it now. I wanted it before I even moved here. You want the tour bus and you want the shows and you want the fans …”

Between stories of his childhood and memories of being a depressed Detroit Lions fan, the Michigan native talked about how early stumbles paved the way for where he is now. He truly believes he wasn't given the opportunities he has in front of him sooner because God knew he wasn't ready. The confident singer has been humbled, but remains hungry to be country's next great superstar.

  • “I had ‘Hillbilly Bone.’ I had ‘Hillbilly Bone’ all to myself. I could have recorded it.”

    Add Blake Shelton's 'Hillbilly Bone' to the pile of songs someone else could have cut first. Ballard says it was his to record, and he knew it was going to be a big hit. "But I couldn’t do it because it’s just not me," he dished. "It’s just not me.”

  • "I think one of the most important things is just getting your a-- off the stage as quickly as possible."

    You won't find the 'Sunshine & Whiskey' singer going a single minute over while on tour with Florida Georgia Line. He knows fans aren't there to see him, but appreciates the chance to make new fans.

    "The reason you get asked back to do more shows," Ballard says, "is because you’re on time and you do fire the crowd up but at whatever time you’re out of the way.”

  • “The two years we took between singles was really a time where I got seasoned, put back in the fire.”

    Ballard notched two quasi-hits from his self-titled album, but recognizes that neither put him on the map. When 'A Buncha Girls' came off the radio, he says he was depressed. Now, he has perspective.

    "I think that had those songs become hit songs, all things being the same … I don’t think I was ready for what that would have meant for me as a person, as an artist, as a brother, as an uncle, as a son.”

  • "I'm still in the fire."

    The forged steel metaphor is one Ballard likes, and he's the first to admit he's not finished yet. Sure, he had a great year in 2014 (two No. 1 hits, a headlining tour) ...  but the truth of what is going to happen (at the first FGL show) is, ‘Hey Frankie, we’re so glad that you’re here but it’s Day 1 and we’re running behind. A couple trucks were late, we got the light thing … So we’re cutting into your soundcheck time and you’re gonna be pushed back.’”

    "By the time you actually get pulled out of the fire and dunked in cold water, then you’re strong enough to carry the load of what it really means to be on the next level of your career."

  • "‘You’re not the guy, Frankie. You’re not the guy. None of that stuff matters.’”

    If you're pulled out of the fire early, you'll crack under the weight, Ballard says. In 2011, he wasn't ready -- but he's getting there. Sure, 2014 was a huge year for him, but he's now at the back of the line again and he knows he'll find that out on the Anything Goes Tour. It's just a better line to be in.

  • “You’ve gotta chew some dirt in order to actually offer real advice to somebody.’”

    During his new single 'Young & Crazy,' Ballard sings "How am I ever gonna get to be old and wise / If I ain't ever young and crazy.” The 32-year-old admits he's done enough to put him in a position to be a wise old man in 50 years.

  • “Living in Nashville, there’s a humble pie around every corner.”

    When asked about his "old soul" and perspective on life, Ballard gave thanks to his parents, but also recognized that his six years in Nashville haven't always been easy.

  • “I wasn’t really as heartbroken about her as much as the $68 I just spent on her.”

    Ballard does not like Valentine's Day because of a bad experience with his high school girlfriend. He and his best friend both bought flowers from the expensive flower shop in Battle Creek, Mich., but two days later, he found himself brokenhearted and alone. Well, more like broke and alone.

  • “Kind of, I’m gonna play that one close to the vest. Cute dog though."

    Ballard was asked if the dog he featured recently in his Instagram photo was his, and he played coy. "That is my velvet Elvis painting though, I’ll claim that," he added.